- Lowe's has named Marisa Thalberg as its new executive vice president, chief brand and marketing officer, according to a news release. She will begin her new role, which reports directly to Lowe's President and CEO Marvin Ellison, on Feb. 10.
- Thalberg joins the home improvement retailer after a four-year stint at Taco Bell, where she last served as global chief brand officer before resigning from the chain in August. A 25-year marketing veteran who got her start on the agency side of the business, Thalberg has also worked at major marketers like Estée Lauder, Unilever and Revlon.
- Lowe's previous CMO was Jocelyn Wong, who stepped in as marketing chief in 2017. Wong helped oversee initiatives like a new slogan, "Do it right for less. Start at Lowe's," introduced last year, and promoting a multi-year partnership with the NFL. She recently resigned to pursue other interests, according to a Lowe's spokesperson.
Thalberg is a highly decorated marketer perhaps best known for helping transform Taco Bell into a full-fledged lifestyle brand with popular offerings that extend beyond the usual fast food purview, including merchandise, wedding services and, notably, a refurbished hotel and resort that was open for a limited time last year. By bringing her on in what was described as an expanded CMO function reporting directly to CEO Ellison, Lowe's is clearly looking to tap into some of that out-of-the-box thinking to continue a refresh of its brand that started under Wong.
"Marisa brings extensive experience in building culturally resonant brands and delivering business value through marketing innovation and fresh thinking to inspire and engage customers," Ellison said in a press statement. "We are confident Marisa will lead our brand into an exciting new chapter for our customers and associates."
Like many large U.S. retailers, Lowe's has experienced some headwinds in recent years amid a consumer shift to e-commerce and the encroachment of online businesses like Amazon, along with continued competition from legacy home improvement category players like The Home Depot. Lowe's last August cut thousands of jobs, including store-level workers, in a shift to third-party assemblers and facilities, according to Retail Dive.
But the brand recently announced a push to hire more than 53,000 full-time, part-time and seasonal workers for the spring, per a separate Retail Dive report. Since stepping in as CEO in 2018, Ellison has been the architect of a broader turnaround plan that recently led Lowe's to two consecutive quarters of results that bested analyst expectations, according to CNBC.
Lowe's looking to Thalberg to kickstart a new chapter for its business is another sign that large marketers could be reinvesting in CMOs following a period of great volatility for the role. In another example, Coca-Cola late last year revealed it was reinstating a global CMO after retiring the position in favor of a chief growth officer just two years ago. This shift comes as many businesses are focusing more on brand-building to better distinguish their products and services and establish stronger customer loyalty.